Straighten Your Brand

Your name is the most valuable asset.. look after it!
Employees and customers will leave, machines and buildings will be sold, but a strong brand could live forever… which makes it more valuable than gold when it is time to sell!
Recently I had lunch with a friend who just sold his business. I asked why did the acquiring business want his company. He said, “Because they wanted my customer list.” If the answer had been “Because they want my good name in the industry,” he could have commanded a higher price. Here is the rest of the story… in less than a year my friend’s key employees left and his customers moved on. Not much value for the buyer.
Experts say companies with a strong brand are:
  • More profitable
  • Able to command a premium
  • Able to ensure customer preference in buying decisions
  • Building customer loyalty
  • Lowering cost of sales
  • Better able to fend off competition.

That is why they are worth more.

What are you doing to build a SUPER brand?

I think the word “brand” can be confusing. So let’s start with a quick example of what “branding” and “a brand story” are by using Superman.

  • Identity… Who are you, or how do we recognize who you are? By your name, logo, colors or images… that tells them who you are in one glance  – We all know Superman (when he is not Clark Kent), because he likes the colors red and blue, wears tight-fitting clothes with a snappy cape, has a cool looking S as his logo and a great tag line, “Man of Steel”. His picture always shows lots of muscles.
  • Valves… These are the core beliefs or values that a business runs by which every employee and customer should ALL know – Superman’s are pretty solid. He fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.
  • Attributes… What makes you a leader in your field? What is your unique sales proposition? Superman’s are clear. Faster than and speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive!  Able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound. Can change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel with his bare hands…. all tying back to his tag line.
  • Positioning… Who are your customers and what are their needs? The “Man of Steel’s” market is the city of Metropolis and his customers are the law-abiding citizens. His services include protecting them from criminals and power-hungry, evil-doing humans and aliens.

Combine these four things together and it becomes your brand story. We all recognize Superman’s brand, know what he believes in, what he can do, how he does it and who he serves. So… do your best customer and/or employees know your brand story?

Is your business “top of mind” when prospects want what you do?

Where to start? You could conduct a full brand audit. That will take time and may require help. Let’s take an easy first step; remember to put your name and logo on EVERYTHING the public sees or leaves your office.

  • Have your proper logo, tag line, phone number and website on everything, both for internal and external consumption.
  • Don’t buy stock photos to promote your business. Pay a professional photographer to take them and be sure they reflect you and your brand.
  • Pound you brand into the public’s heads so it reaches the recesses of their memory. Flash it everywhere you can.

Here’s a partial list:

  • Letterhead and Business Cards
  • Website and URL
  • All Snail-Mail
  • Emails and Attachments
  • Invoices and Statements
  • Literature/Flyers
  • Presentation (PR) Folders
  • PowerPoint Presentation (every slide)
  • Packaging
  • Online engagements (videos, social media, ads etc.)
  • Internal Intranet


Finally, if you plan to sell your business and want to get the best price, start now on a brand strategy! Project who you are in everything you do. Identify your best acquisition partners and get your brand in front of them early and often.

Your “Brand Story” is not just about impressing new customers, its also about impressing the competition.

More ways to create a higher brand profile.

  • Sponsor industry meetings, events, and charities.
  • Be an industry leader by giving talks and doing speaking engagements.
  • Shoot videos write blogs and newsletters, present webinars… Give your knowledge away.
  • One bold client rented an empty office and put a sign it just so the competition would see it on their way to work every day.
  • Finally, give away quality or more useful promotional items… that always makes them think you are bigger than you are!

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admin on September 30th 2019 in Web Strategy, Web Stuff


An effective “Elevator Speech” is an important marketing skill

To break through all this marketing clutter, it’s imperative to have an enticing elevator speech that speaks directly to the needs of your customers. And, it has to roll off your tongue easily, naturally and conversationally.
                                                                                   — Jill Konrath, Sales Strategist

Hello ________”So What Do You Do?”

An “Elevator Speech” answers this question and refers to the short amount of time you have between the first and twelfth floor to communicate that idea to a total stranger. Your goal is to get them to ask you a question, engage with you in a problem-solving conversation or remember you for future reference.

I was searching the internet for the current trends in web design and I came across the Jill Konrath website which is well done and worth checking out. Reading her content, I was impressed by her understanding of selling so I signed up for her weekly newsletter and downloaded her free e-book on how to create a good elevator speech called Attracting More Customers. It is worth reading but if you do not have the time, I wanted to give you a quick outline of what she wrote.

My take away is that the process of making an elevator speech is a great starting point for creating customer-driven content which is critical for your website and printed collateral. She also reinforces the importance of continually practicing, refining and tailoring it to fit the audience.

1. Guidelines For Writing

  • Offer a strong promise of benefits
  • Specifically, define your target customer
  • Communicate the value a customer will receive from your product or service
  • Talk results, not products or process
  • Be short, simple and concise
  • keep it conversational – no jargon
  • Make your speech repeatable

2. Getting Started

  • Talk to good customers – explore the value you bring to the market
  • List your top target markets
  • List problems or challenges your target market faces that you can solve
  • Describe how your target market feels about these problems or challenges
  • State the outcome or result your client will receive from your product or service
  • Refine all your lists to the two or three most important ones

3. Choose Your Style

– Problem-centered elevator speech –
       “I work with small-to-medium sized manufacturing companies who are struggling with
unpredictable revenue streams and profitable growth.”

-Benefit centered elevator speech –
       “I help fragmented leadership teams align around a common vision and business strategies.”

4. Delivering Your Elevator Speech

  • Practice in front of a mirror
  • Leave yourself a voicemail
  • Ask your family to listen – (For once they might actually understand what you do)
  • Videotape yourself

Finally, people remember stories. Try to weave one in that either relates to your customer, a recent conversation or situation you are in together. It will leave a lasting impression.

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admin on April 13th 2018 in Web Stuff

Four 2016 Marketing Trends to Start Working On In 2018

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
                                                                                        – Abraham Lincoln

Trends are not bound by the calendar year. If you want to be ready for 2016, start now!

The internet is rapidly changing and remains the most important marketing tool in your arsenal. Getting leads from people asking a question about your product /services in real time is gold. You could be losing ground and it is never too early to start taking advantage of what is new… just ask old Abe!

1. Content is still king – Google is now calling articles of 200 words or less “Thin Content” which produces less Google Juice. Short reviews with links are being replaced with longer articles written in a series. 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. Read More

2. Nimble SEO – Pictures and videos will have a great effect on Google Juice. Attractive visuals increase the length a time a visitor stays on a page. This combined with optimized meta descriptions, alt tags and targeted “keywording” improves your site’s organic SEO. Read More

3. Optimize for Mobile – If your website is not mobile friendly your completion’s is… and they will be found on Google before you. More business is being done on mobile devices every day… and it is not just business to consumer (B to C). Business to Business (B to B) is seeing an uptick in mobile usage too. 87% of the mobile generation admits to never being without a phone. Read More

Examples of B to B mobile searches would be: Ordering spare parts when you are in the field; Ordering a replacement product as soon as it wears out or fails: Contacting an expert the moment a problem arises. A mobile optimized webpage or app has been shown to increase conversions by 160%. Read More

4.Automated inbound Marketing – Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get a prospects’ attention. It earns the attention of customers, makes your company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content using blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing. There are great systems available ranging in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars a month to automate content development, data collection, and auto responses. Read More

The Reynolds Group is here to help you navigate to a better 2016 today!

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admin on April 13th 2018 in Web Stuff

Engaging The Micro-Moment

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
— Alvin Toffler- 1970
Your customers’ expectations have changed. When there is a question, something breaks, or a specific product or service is needed, in seconds a mobile device comes out to retrieve an answer. Welcome to the micro-moment or as we called it in the old days, a world demanding instant gratification. On Tuesday I read in the LA TIMES that customers’ expectations for a one-day delivery has changed because of Amazon Prime. Consumers of all types expect all deliveries to be in one day… even if it has to comes on a container ship form China!
Is your business prepared to operate at hyper-speed? Does your website optimize to communicate or sell in a micro-moment? Your customers may not wait! They want answers as soon as the question pops into their heads and not a nanosecond sooner… or later.
In 2014 the number of mobile connected devices exceeded the number of people on Earth. On average smart phone users look at their phones 150 times a day. Yes, they still own a laptop or table top computer but they rely on them less and less.  Is your marketing strategy taking this into account?
Just because Google says your website has to be mobile does not make it right  Every business is different and your marketing strategies ALWAYS depend on your customers.  However, you need to understand advancing internet technology and online marketing tools as they relate to your business and customers… and optimize them. The answer is always in the question.
Whether it is assessing technology or leveraging Amazon Prime, let us help! Our process will support you in sorting out the answers by focusing on the right questions… but remember, one size does not fit all… no matter what Google and Facebook tell you.

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Having a website without clear intention

Is like shouting your name at the top of Mount Wilson… You know what you are doing but no one else does
The internet used to be like the movie Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come”.  Getting noticed beyond a few close friends takes focused effort and clear intent. Casting too big a net actually diminishes your marketing efforts.
Here are a few challenges
  • There an abundance of competition on the world wide web
  • Content is king but it takes time and skill to write good content or blog
  • It’s expensive and time consuming to get found on search engines
  • Google and Facebook keep changing the rules
  • Finding the right social media to network with my customers
  • Applying a mobile strategy that makes sense for my business
  • Good Customers don’t write reviews
  • Making a Video requires me to being in it
Everything above is true. So…as my grandfather Milton Reynolds (“Inventor” of the ball point pen) use to say – “If you want to do the impossible you must start right away”!
A successful internet marketing strategy starts with answering these questions:
  • Who are your best customers
  • What do you want then to do
  • What do they want to know
  • Where do they go to look for information
  • How do we gain their trust
  • How and when do they connect to the internet
  • What is my brand story

The answers to these questions should help you develop a clear intent or purpose for your website strategy. Furthermore, what your intent for haivng a website should not be is to just prove you are a real business… it can be so much more than that!

Here is my favorite request – I want to pay for a marketing solution that will be programmed such to automatically and effortlessly brings me great leads every day, guaranteed. In my experience that is wishful thinking and may lead to an expensive disappointment. Success will most likely be a combination for digital programming and traditional marketing techniques that work together effectively. Having a clear marketing intent that your customers understand and remember will pull create results

My Recommendations:
Think like your customer, set a budget, take small steps, measure results, plan your work and then work your plan!

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Experiencing Information Overload?

Since 1970 the number of ads you see every day has grown from 500 to 2,900
Future Shock

“Information Overload refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information

It Is Really Nothing New
In the 3rd and 4th centuries BC Chinese scholars warned about its dangers. In the first century AD, Seneca the Elder said, “The abundance of books is a distraction.” Imagine what they said when the printing press showed up in the 1400’s… yep, mankind was doomed!

Getting Heard Above All The Noise
Certainly the popularity of the Internet has increased the potential for information overload many times over.  Getting discovered on the web has been likened to standing in “Blue Heaven” at a sold-out Dodger game and shouting your name… only the four people directly in front of you might hear you.

Google Is REALLY Changing The Rules
For the last 10 years the best hope for small to mid-size businesses to be found by new clients has been on the Google Search return page. In the past, if we used all the right keywords and had reasonable content we could be the answer to our best customers’ “Google” questions. Well, that just got harder.
Google just announced that as of April 21, 2015 the top returns will be given to websites that are mobile friendly or “responsive.” On that date your website must work just as well on a smart phone or tablet as it does on a computer or it will not beat out your competitor who has gone “responsive.” This is a really BIG change in Google’s magic algorithms.

Take Heart – Responsive Websites Are Affordable
Mobile friendly templates are now pretty common. Recently The Reynolds Group has introduced a new Content Management System that is cost effective and powerful. Not only is it mobile friendly but it includes a simple blog for quickly adding content  and handles e-commerce too. A new website can start as low as $300 a month.That includes our time tested marketing strategies and designs that have been refined over 164 websites too.

What Does This Mean For The Future of Mankind
Here is what the futurist Alvin Toffler said in 1970:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Make A Difference

Here are three simple ideas you may find rewarding while creating new business in the next 12 months.

1. Join a networking group

Get out of that rut!

Not all networking is on the internet. Plenty of people are getting out and doing it belly to belly.

  • It will forced you talk about what you do and who are your best customers… which will help you think through all phases of your marketing.
  • You find new business opportunities.
  • You will expand your network of trusted advisers, which will help you and your clients when they ask for help.
  • It will make you a better salesman.

There are lots of business networking groups like NexGen Provisors, Meet-up, BNI International, Vistage, etc. Depending on your business, other organizations to consider are trade associations, service clubs, a local Chamber of Commerce and religiously affiliated groups.

Join Toastmasters. It will make networking easier.
Not everyone is conformable meeting new people or speaking in public… These are critical skills in networking.

Toastmasters International is a great solution. You will learn how to speak to a group in a safe environment and regularly practice those skills.

  • You will become a better public speaker
  • Meeting and speaking with new people will be easier
  • You will refine your marketing strategy
  • You will be a better salesman
  • It will expand your network too

Get involved with a Non-Profit 

It is nice to get out of your routine and help others. It is also a great way to meet people and bond while doing a good turn. You will really get to know someone if you have worked side by side with them. Some of my best business contacts and best friends have come through doing public service  together.

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

When Is It Time to Get a New Website

When is it time to get a new website?
It is not the age or technology that determines when it is time to replace a website, it is results and how it performs against the completion.

A well thought-out website will pay for
itself every 6 months… It is worth the investment.

Times They Are A Changin’

The time in which a website must to be fine-tuned and updated to stay competitive is shrinking. To be specific, since 2002, the rate “from time-of-launch” a website starts becoming outdated has collapsed from two years to three months!

The Internet is tilting to benefit the “biggest” Internet players and away from the rest of us!

If your website was made in the last decade (or in the last century) and you are getting a steady flow of leads there is no reason to update your website. If that is not the case, maybe it is time to step up your game. Are you being found? Are you getting leads, or more importantly, sales that can be traced to your Internet strategy?

Get back in the game

An Internet marketing strategy is a plan coupled with an easy-to-use CMS (Content Management System) to update and manage your website content. If your lead quality and sales are “under-whelming” or dropping….whether your website is one-year-old or ten, it may be time to review your strategy, try a little Search Engine Marketing, update your content or possibly… it’s time to rebuild your website.

4 things your website should say in a few seconds:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do
  3. Who you do it for
  4. How to reach you

5 things your website should do in a few seconds:

  1. Be found
  2. Invoke trust
  3. Motivate action
  4. Create leads
  5. Demonstrate leadership

Three recent websites we built and optimized:

Simple performance factors to follow:

Start by knowing what you want your website to accomplish, balanced by what your clients want to know, then set goals and measure results. Watch:

  • Quality of leads
  • Average time on website
  • Bounce rate
  • Return visits
  • 5-10 top keyword rankings
  • Website activity – year to year
  • Sales attributed to website

To evaluate your performance, use your inbound sales staff, historical data from Google Analytics and industry norms.

Give us a call if you have questions or need any help!

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Milt Reynolds and the Ball Point Pen

Milt Reynolds & The Ballpoint Pen

A New Novel about the life and times of the man who believed, to do the impossible, it had to be done NOW!

Even in death, when Milton Reynolds’ name comes up, he commands a room. If you ever did business with him you would never forget it. When a group of friends, associates or competitors met there was always a new story to tell about Milt that ended in someone saying “that story was true” and then a big laugh. Heck, in  1975 my employer docked my pay $20 bucks because I was his grandson. He had bought a pen that leaked in 1949 and swore he’d get his money back someday… he laughed… I cried.

In life Milt is credited with not only inventing the ballpoint pen but: revolutionizing retail signing; setting world records for the fastest times flying around the world (competing with Howard Hughes); and searching for a higher mountain than Mt Everest in the Himalayas, while possibly spying on the Chinese…. and more.

There are business school courses that still use Milt and the introduction of the ballpoint pen as a classic marketing case-study. This new book, Mr Ballpoint, will give you a good flavor of what really happened as well as what life was like in the late 40’s.

The story begins in Chicago towards the end of the Second World War and pits a fictional version of my father, Jim Reynolds, against his super-entrepreneur and “film-flam” father, Milt. Although many of the stories are true, Jim’s character embodies four or five real men that surrounded my grandfather at the time. Also, the two fictional characters the author creates make a compelling father/son story.

The author of Mr Ballpoint is a good friend of mine, Gerald Jones who met my father 3 months before he passed. Dad told Gerald he wanted the story to be a musical… but for now a book must do! Although I was a help and a cheerleader… Gerald did the heavy lifting in terms of research and writing Mr Ballpoint.

The story is historically accurate and the funniest parts are true. It is an ideal read for history buffs and high school or college-aged kids who might want to know more about Post-World War II America.

Milt was a marketing genius and unparalleled self-promoter who possessed a fabulous sense of timing and humor. He was a pirate and steely-eyed businessman who thought the impossible could be done, but it had to happen right now. He made enemies… but never for too long. Did I mention he was very charming?

Oh, can we tell stories!

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

The Moment of Relevance

The Moment of Relevance

Nothing is more powerful than an idea that has reached its time

Your best prospect’s purchasing decision starts at the moment of relevance or when the light switch flips from, “not ready yet” to, “it’s time to take action.”  It is the beginning of the selling process, when your top prospect begins doing research, looking for resources as well as  identifying industry authorities and potential suppliers. It is the moment when your client is ready to engage in some form of meaningful discussion.



Imagine your big moment of relevance!! Your best potential customer is typing in your business’ name or keywords right into Google, Yahoo or Bing…. What happens next means everything.

  • Will you be found?
  • Was it the right audience?
  • What impression was made?
  • Will they know what to do?
  • Did we apply the right tool(s)
    • Website
    • Video
    • An online review
    • Internet advertising
    • Linkedin
    • Your blog
    • An authority’s blog
    • Google+
    • Facebook
    • Pinterest
    • All of the above
    • Something new

If the answer is none of the above….you should get busy.


Answer These Questions:

  • How do these tools work?
  • Who is our audience?
  • Does it make doing business with us easy?
  • Can we provide a clear call to action?
  • Are we sensitive to our customer’s perspective/needs?
Are you still with me? Here are a few relevant notes from a recent Google class I attended:
  • Think about your moment of relevance
  • List your business in more online directories
  • 90% of all buyers look for online reviews
  • Update the copyright on your website every year
  • Look at Google + Business – I was impressed
  • Work on customer engagement vs getting “likes”
  • Look at market trends over time with Google Trends

If you want to know more about what I learned in class or discuss your Internet strategy, please call.

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff